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Aussie winemakers dominate 2017 SapPrize entries

Aussie winemakers dominate 2017 SapPrize entries

Ever heard of a wine varietal called Saperavi?

Neither had we until we'd read that Australia was dominating the entries for the 2017 Saperavi World Prize.

Saperavi is the European nation of Georgia's signature grape.

David Williams describes its grapes in The Guardian as producing "deeply coloured wines with a kind of wild, almost untamed intensity of tannin, finger-staining fruit and acidity that has very few peers."

Saperavi vines are found in Australia, United States, New Zealand, Central Europe, and former Soviet republics.

However, it's a relative unknown in many countries outside Europe. It was only recognised by the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau as a variety in 2014. 

"About 20 years ago there was an effort to clear up confusion and remove 'faux' grape names that were for marketing purposes only," Marti Macinski from Standing Stone, an entrant in the Saperavi World Prize, told the Star Gazette. "My guess is that no one was labeling a Saperavi in this country, so no one spoke up and said 'hey, let's include this grape' and it simply did not make the list."

Standing Stone filed a petition in December 2013, and recognition came a month later, she said.

Inaugural SapPrize

The Saperavi World Prize has been initiated and organized by wine news publisher Hvino News with the support of Georgia's National Wine Agency.

Hvino News is the world’s primary news and information resource on Georgian wine.
The prize will be judged in Georgia, by an international jury including the top experts in Saperavi winemaking.

And 13 of the 19 producers that have entered the competition to date have come from Australia!

"It was not easy task to identify all the world's wineries which produce Saperavi," said Hvino New's Inge Olsson. "But, once we contacted them, we were happy to see the enthusiasm of winemakers excited about our initiative. One of the winemakers has shortened “Saperavi World Prize” to "SapPrize" and we decided to keep the catchy name."

Among the Aussie winemakers who have entered the prize are Alex Russell Wines, Anderson Winery, Ballandean Estate Wines, Bassham Wines, Billy Button Wines, Cirami Estate, Clovely Estate, Dell'uva Wines, Gapsted Wines, G Patritti & Co, Hugh Hamilton, Ridgemill Estate and Side Project Wines.